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Original poem

Hälfte des Lebens

Mit gelben Birnen hänget
Und voll mit wilden Rosen
Das Land in den See,
Ihr holden Schwäne,
Und trunken von Küssen
Tunkt ihr das Haupt
Ins heilignüchterne Wasser.

Weh mir, wo nehm’ ich, wenn
Es Winter ist, die Blumen, und wo
Den Sonnenschein,
Und Schatten der Erde?
Die Mauern stehn
Sprachlos und kalt, im Winde
Klirren die Fahnen.

Versions

Poem in translation

Half of Life

With golden pears and full
Of wild roses the land
Hangs into the lake,
O noble swans,
And drunk with kisses
You dip your heads
Into the holy-sobering water.

But where will I find, when
It’s winter, the flowers, and where
The sunshine,
And shadows of earth?
The walls stand
Speechless and cold, in the wind
The weathervanes clatter.

» Read translator's notes

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